In the wake of the pandemic, many of us have concerns about the return to work and how we keep ourselves healthy as we begin to interact with people again. The Covid 19 pandemic and the isolation that has come with it has been so challenging for so many and I think most people would agree that it’s time for change. For many people, the risk to their mental health from the loneliness and isolation is now greater than the risk to their physical health from living life again. So how can we mitigate the anxiety of getting back out there? Staying healthy has got to be our focus. Boosting our immune systems and keeping them functioning at its best to help fight viruses is our best chance, but what’s the best way to do that?
The advice for this is no different than it was pre-pandemic, it’s just that now people might be more encouraged to follow it. We need to ensure we have adequate rest and sleep, that we exercise regularly, eat well and stay hydrated. It will come as no surprise to most that being well nourished and having the recommended daily intake of fluid is particularly important. In addition to this is regular hand washing, social distancing, face masks where appropriate and the use of hand sanitiser to protect ourselves and others.
70% of the immune system is based in the gut, so boosting our immunity through good nutrition, proper rest and good hydration is vital to help fight off infections.
How do I eat healthier?
Important components that can be found in your food, which play a role in keeping your immune system strong and fight off germs and illnesses are vitamins A, C and E, as well as zinc. Think about your plate of food more carefully and ensure each meal contains a balanced mix of vegetables and lean meat or fish. Combine this with some healthy fats and dairy and you should be well on your way to a strong immune system.
Prebiotic and probiotic foods support healthy gut flora which is why it’s important to eat foods such as vegetables, fruits, kefir products and yogurts.
Some foods that are particularly good for the immune system are:
Why is water important?
Your body needs electrolytes and fluids to function properly, especially if you are suffering symptoms like a fever, coughing, diarrhoea and sickness, which can easily leave you de-hydrated. I’m sure you’ve all heard it from you parents and grandparents over the years, whenever you’ve been ill – ‘Keep your fluids up’. And it’s excellent advice. Proper re-hydration really does help you to recover from illness. But prevention is better than cure, so staying properly hydrated all the time will help you stave off any unwanted symptoms.
Rehydration drinks and sachets with electrolytes are readily available in the supermarket or pharmacy and are good for relieving symptoms associated with illness-related mild to moderate dehydration to replace your lost fluids.
Fizzy drinks and those that contain a lot of sugar like sports drinks are not good choices for addressing the symptoms of dehydration resulting from illness because of the higher sugar content which can worsen stomach issues.
High sugar intake can also cause a whole host of other health issues such as:
So, water really is the best way to ensure you stay hydrated at all times, without increasing any other health risks or adding to existing problems.
How can I increase my water intake?
The easiest answer to this is just do it! They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so get up tomorrow knowing in your mind that you plan to meet your recommended daily water intake for the day and then stick to your goal! The daily recommended intake is about 3.7 litres a day for men and 2.7 litres a day for women. You could buy yourself a designated water bottle that contains your recommended amount and just carry it with you all day and make sure it’s all gone by the end of the day. Some people like to add cucumber, lemon or ice cubes to jazz it up a little and make it more inviting. But honestly, if you stick to your recommended intake for just one week, you will feel so much better in yourself that the health benefits will be enough to make all that water very desirable to you!
Many of us easily spend 40 hours a week in our offices or workplaces. Considering, we’re only supposed to be awake for 80 hours a week that’s a good chunk of our time! So having an office water cooler is another way to help yourself and the rest of your building keep those fluids up. Your water comes chilled, so no need to faff with ice cubes and it’s easy access. You’ll probably find yourselves drinking more without even realising it.
So, to take the best care of yourself when returning to work, don’t miss meals or forget to refill your reusable bottle or glass at the office water cooler. Save yourself buying expensive bottled single-use plastic drinks and help the planet too. Good nutrition, hydration, rest and exercise will all help boost your immunity and keep you healthy.